The idea of establishing our own archives for collecting materials about the life of Estonians on Canada’s West Coast arose in the mid 1980s. By then its once vigorous Estonian community of around 2,500 post-WWII refugees/immigrants had clearly begun to grow old and decrease in numbers while the younger generation started to identify more and more with Canadian society. Thus, starting in the late nineties, the founding of archives for the West Coast Estonian Community gradually took shape.
In 2000 the Society for the Advancement of Estonian Studies in Canada (SAESC) decided to set up the Estonian Archives in Vancouver (EAV) as a non-profit organization to be run by volunteers. Its constitution and other legal documentation were completed by the fall of 2005.
The mission of EAV is to collect, store and preserve archival materials connected with persons of Estonian descent and their offspring as well as with Estonian organizations and companies in British Columbia, so that these materials would be available for future researchers. The aim of EAV is to guarantee the preservation of these materials in accordance with the archival principles laid out in the 1999 Manual for Small Archives of the Archives Association of British Columbia.
The Society for the Advancement of Estonian Studies in Canada (SAESC) is housed in “Meie Kodu” (Our Home), the main meeting place of Vancouver Estonians. The rent of the archival space is covered by SAESC.
In “Meie Kodu“ (Our Home) EAV has at its disposal a windowless room of 13 m2 (143 square feet), air-conditioned but without a heating system. The room is furnished with a large fireproof vault and three cabinets with glass doors, donated by a member of the Estonian community, a worktable and about 30 m (96 feet) of metal shelving for archival storage boxes, purchased with funds from SAESC.
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